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Research Literacy on the Benefits of Yoga

Heyam dukham anagatam. Future suffering can be avoided.1

We hear a lot about yoga today. It’s hard not to see the impact of its increasing popularity across modern culture — from our social media feeds to the covers of magazines to inclusion in mainstream advertising campaigns to yoga classes offered by gyms, recreation centers, health clubs, the corner yoga studio, and more. International Yoga Day (June 21), founded by the United Nations in late 2014, has now been annually celebrated internationally for years. Yoga is so popular now that we might stop and ask ourselves: why?

Why have we seen this explosive growth of yoga? What does it offer us that is attractive, and necessary, in this day in age? Is there any “scientific proof” that yoga is, in fact, beneficial?

In this modern era of yoga, advances in technology and the increased accessibility of information have allowed researchers to test and prove the multitude of physical and mental benefits that yoga offers and that have been discussed for generations. Here, Yoga Alliance has compiled a catalogue of yoga research on a variety of topics so that you can explore and learn about the various ways in which yoga helps the body and the mind. Through this section, we hope to increase your research literacy on the benefits of yoga so that you might explore this in your own practice and share this work with your students.

We recommend that individuals with health concerns consult with a qualified health care practitioner to discuss whether yoga is right for them, though we are aware that yoga can be used in the medical treatment context by appropriately qualified and licensed healthcare practitioners. Please note that Yoga Alliance credentials do not serve as qualifications for the diagnosis or treatment of health conditions.

We proudly support the continued research on yoga’s many benefits, and we will continue to update this section regularly with recent research findings on these many health topics. In addition, we look forward to sharing future partnerships and collaborations with the biomedical research community in the near future.

We thank our Director of Yoga Research, Sat Bir S. Khalsa, Ph.D, for his guidance and support in developing and maintaining this conversation with our members and the yoga community at large.

As always, should you have any questions, please contact us at research@yogaalliance.org.
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1 Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Ashram - Yogaville: 2005), 102.
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